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scheme of philosophy. These ministers, like the ancient heathen, have become vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart is darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they have become fools, and changed the glory of God, as it appears in the face of Jesus Christ, for a phantom of their own creation.
3. Nothing, which ministers preach, ought to be received for truth, if it accords not with the Scriptures.
Since there are ministers who corrupt the truth, as we have already stated, congregations ought to be on their guard, so as not to be seduced by them. How can they avoid this consequence, if they do not compare the sermons which they hear with the Scriptures.
Your salvation, my hearers, depends upon your receiving the truth in the love of it. If, instead of receiving the truth, you receive error, and die under the influence of that error, your ruin is inevitable. Remember that the treasure of the Gospel is committed to earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are frail creatures as you are, to whom we
administer in holy things. Depend not entirely upon our exhibitions of Scriptural doctrines and precepts. We are, unquestionably, to be respected for our works' sake: but this respect ought never to prevent you from exercising your intelligent nature in examining the correctness of our preaching. It is one of the most dishonourable traits of human character, to relinquish independence of thinking and action in religious matters, from personal attachment to the ministers of the Gospel. We deprecate such relinquishment on the part of any
of you, as an evil of no ordinary magnitude. Let our preaching be brought constantly and strictly to the test of the Holy Scriptures. We ask no more credit, no more faith, no more obedience, than what they require. If from them our doctrines and precepts cannot be supported, reject them, whatever affection you may cherish for us : “ Let God be true, but every man a liar.”
4. Those who constantly and faithfully compare the sermons which they hear with the Scriptures, are entitled to the same commendation with the Bereans.
They are more noble than others who neglect this duty. What an honour is it to be thus dignified by the Spirit of God! Such an examination of the Scriptures, more than any other exercise, reflects credit upon human character, because it furnishes, under the sanctifying operations of the Holy Ghost, matter for regulating human conduct, so as to make us serviceable to our fellow-men, and acceptable to God. In these Scriptures there is aliment to invigorate and ennoble our intelligent nature; a remedy for all the sorrows and miseries of our sinful condition; and a hope which maketh not ashamed of eternal happiness in soul and body beyond the
grave. In every point of view the neglect of the Scriptures by individuals, as also in schools and families, is truly lamentable. The rerejection of the Scriptures in a higher, and their perversion in a lower degree, deteriorate the intellectual powers of man, as well as impart a terribly deleterious effect
his moral habits. The study of the Scriptures produced that lofty and commanding spirit, which stamped the puritan character in England, before their civil wars. The same
cause produced the same effects upon the pilgrims of Leyden, from whom most of you are descended.
After all the deductions are made on the score of contractedness of views, or bigotry of conduct, they were a race of men, of whom the world was not worthy. O! that the mantles of these Elijahs had fallen upon the Elishas sprung from their loins, that thus, instead of the fathers, might be the children, as a seed to serve the Lord.
Ye young and old, who aspire after nobleness of character and nobleness of conduct, search the Scriptures. Therein
Therein you will find the principles of eternal truth, the rule of holy conduct, the assurance of immortal blessedness. Search them with diligence, with fidelity, with perseverance, looking up to God for his blessing upon your endeavours. If he fashion you in their mould, you will be truly great and really noble, shining as lights here on earth; and hereafter shed around you among the inhabitants of the City of God, the splendors of his own image, the glories of his own grace. AMEN.
THE DUTY OF WELL-DOING EXPLAINED
GALATIANS VI. 9.
And let us not be weary in well-doing ;
for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
WELL-DOING, of which the apostle here speaks, is the same in meaning, with “ “ing to the Spirit,” mentioned in the preceding verse, and“ doing good to all,” in the subsequent one. The expression evidently refers to that course of life which has saving faith for its principle, the law of God